Hardcore band The Great Sabatini hits Cafe Berlin

The Great Sabatini looks to release new material next year.

By Christine Cauthen | Oct. 8, 2010

Tags: Music


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It starts off with a simple beat on the cymbals. The subtlety lasts for only a few seconds before The Great Sabatini's signature slow, steady tempo starts in, and it is soon accompanied by powerful screams. When visiting the MySpace of this Canadian band, its song "Napoleon Sodomite" blares its hard rock sound.

"There's definitely some punk and hardcore influence in our stuff, but I'd say we incorporate a lot of things that are recognizable from other genres or other bands that we might like," guitarist Sean Arsenian said.

Although its influences are evident when listening to its music, The Great Sabatini makes its sound distinctive.

"We're not really reinventing the wheel, but I do know that I haven't heard anybody who sounds like us," Arsenian said. "I think we've managed to stitch everything together in a unique way."

Although the members' individual music tastes differ, bands such as Black Sabbath, Helmet and The Melvins had a large influence on the band as a whole.

"We like so much music and all of it kind of seeps into what we do," Arsenian said.

The band was formed in Montreal in 2007, where it played shows until its first EP Burning Wilderness was released. A 2008 Canadian tour followed, which gave the group time to perfect its first full-length CD, Sad Parade of Yesterdays.

"We actually have our next full-length already written, and we've demoed most of it," Arsenian said. "2011 will be a big recording year for us."

The band's writing strategy for music usually consists of guitarist Rob Tontsch or Arsenian coming up with guitar riffs and Steve Vargas and Joey Cormier coming up with drum and bass parts, respectively. Arsenian normally writes the lyrics, and he sometimes incorporates things he wrote down in a notebook at an earlier time with newly created music. The band uses the Internet as a helpful resource in getting its music heard.

"It seems crazy to me that bands like Black Flag and millions of bands that we love from like, the '80s and '90s are doing what we're doing now without the Internet," Arsenian said.

Even so, getting music heard as a self-promoted band is no easy task.

"We're hoping that maybe, by the time we're done recording it, we'll have some kind of label backing — someone to get it out there a little bit better than we can," Arsenian said.

Having professionals behind the business side of things helps bands to focus more on what really matters: the music.

"The idea of someone who lives at the other end of the continent from me listening to something that we labored on is kind of interesting to me," Arsenian said.

This, along with the brotherhood and camaraderie, makes the grueling experience of touring worth it for The Great Sabatini. For the group, it's all about the music and getting it out there for the fans. Still, Arsenian isn't sure if the band has a particular message.

"I'm really busy trying to hide any meanings in the songs by abstracting the words and making them hard to understand," he said.

The Great Sabatini is performing Oct. 9 at Cafe Berlin in Columbia.

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